Victims Compensation Tribunal (VCT) Restitution Orders

If you have been found guilty of an offence involving an act of violence that resulted in an injury to a person, you may be liable to pay restitution to Victims Services if the victim received an Award of compensation from the Victims Compensation Fund.

It is not necessary for you to have been convicted of the offence – even persons whose guilt was proved without a conviction recorded, pursuant to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, are liable.

The maximum liability is $50,000, however the amount awarded to a victim is ultimately determined by an Assessor at Victims Services having regard to a schedule contained within the relevant legislation.


Provisional Order for Restitution

The first document that the ‘offender’ will receive is a Provisional Order for Restitution accompanied by explanatory papers, including details of the date that compensation was awarded to the victim, the amount paid and the facts upon which the decision to pay compensation to the victim was made.

Unless you are content to pay the amount specified in the Order, you should ensure that you lodge a Notice of Objection to a Provisional order for Restitution within 28 days and that your objection complies with the rules and identifies the relevant grounds of objection.

Failure to object, or to object within 28 days after service of the Provisional Order will result in the Provisional Order being confirmed as a judgment debt enforceable against you.


Why Now? This Happened Ages Ago

There is a time limit that applies to the making of a Provisional Order for Restitution. It may not be made if 2 or more years have elapsed since the date of conviction (or finding of guilt) or the date of the award of compensation – whichever is the latter.

Although there is also a limit of 2 years from the date of the act of violence for a victim to make a claim, they may apply out of time. This frequently occurs in cases of sexual assault or indecent assault where the complaint is sometimes delayed.

Some people receiving restitution orders may be just getting back on their feet after losing their job or their liberty as a consequence of the conviction or finding of guilt – all the more reason to see of one our criminal law experts for the right advice.


How can Nyman Gibson Miralis assist you?

Our defence lawyers work exclusively in criminal law and have the experience to guide and assist you in objecting to the Provisional Order and preventing a Final Order being made in the original amount sought at any recovery proceedings or Tribunal hearing.

Our specialists will make sure that the correct information is set out in the Notice of Objection and prepare your case for a Restitution Hearing in the event that a negotiated outcome cannot be achieved to the satisfaction of all parties.

Results that we have achieved by negotiation include substantial reductions to the original amount sought – sometimes as much as a 80% or 90% reduction.

Results that we have achieved at hearing include reducing a provisional order of $50,000 to zero. Each case is different however, and the results obtained depend on your financial circumstances and any other matter considered relevant by the Tribunal.

The tribunal is located in Parramatta, across the road from our Parramatta office.

It does not matter where you live in NSW or even if you now live interstate or overseas, we can represent you at the Tribunal with a view to reducing or wiping out the restitution order.

Another advantage to using the criminal law specialists at Nyman Gibson Miralis is that you do not have to bring your local lawyer to Parramatta if you live far away – especially if you live out of Sydney.

What is Restitution?

Compensation is awarded to victims of certain “acts of violence”. Restitution is the process of recovering money from the offender.

Do I have to repay all of the restitution in the Provisional Order for Restitution?

No. It is possible to negotiate the amount to be repaid. Nyman Gibson Miralis regularly assist people with this process. In some cases, we have had the amount of restitution reduced to nil. We have never failed to achieve a reduction in the amount of restitution to be paid.

Payment can be made by lump sum or by interest free instalments after negotiation between our lawyer acting on your behalf and the Victims Compensation Tribunal representative. Remember – we will only ever negotiate upon your instructions – you get the final word on whether or not to accept the deal, or take it to hearing.

What can the Tribunal take into account in reducing the amount payable?

The main issue is the financial circumstances of the ‘debtor’. Financial circumstances include income as well as outgoings or liabilities. If you are in a relationship, joint financial circumstances are taken into account.

Other factors include the offenders age at the time of the offence. We recently acted for a person charged with sexual assault more than 20 years ago. The original amount of restitution sought was $35,000 – however after presenting the matter properly we were able to reduce that amount to less than $5,000 – a saving of over $30,000.

Factors also include:

·whether other persons were charged or convicted of the same offence giving rise to compensation;

·culpability for the victim’s injuries

·any other relevant issue – which can include for example future liabilities, prospects of employment, health issues involving yourself or a dependent person

Is the amount sought ‘fair’?

The process of awarding compensation does not involve consultation with the offender. The Tribunal might not be aware of factual amendments, concessions by the prosecutor or comments made by the Magistrate or Judge that may affect culpability.

Therefore the offender might not perceive the amount awarded to be fair.

Nyman Gibson Miralis has the experience of seasoned criminal defence lawyers and accredited criminal law specialists to take these factors into account when preparing to take Restitution matter to a Restitution Hearing or to attempt to achieve a negotiated outcome.

Do Time Limits Apply?

Yes. Any objection to the Provisional Order for Restitution must be made within 28 days. We will assist you in completing the formal Notice of Objection. It is important to list the appropriate and correct grounds for objection when completing the form.

What if I am in prison?

The Notice of Objection must still be filed. The Tribunal will generally ‘stay’ the proceedings until after your release. People released from prison sometimes have little or no assets and difficulty in obtaining a job. These reasons may be of assistance in reducing the amount of restitution payable, in addition to other reasons that may exist.